Gender Influence

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Psychology ・APA ・6 Sources

Males and females have many physiological and anatomical distinctions. These distinctions have also been observed in the operation of the higher centers. Memory is mediated by cortical parts of the brain. These higher centers are in charge of both short-term and long-term memory. Although research has been undertaken to elicit these distinctions, few have dug into the intricacies of memory and what the differences are. Long-term memory is divided into three parts: episodic memory, semantic memory, autobiographical memory, and procedural memory. The focus of this type of research has been episodic memory, but there have been some contentious findings regarding gender influence on episodic memory. Imaging studies have also been conducted but the focus has been on the working memory and the basic functional organization of the brain. Due to the differences in the underlying neural matter, it is possible that intricate aspects of memory such as face recognition are different in men and women and as such, this paper aims to elicit the differences in short vs long term memory in regards to the memory of faces and names.


The physiology of the brain may vary between males and females. This is due to the differences in levels of certain hormones in the brain. By functional MRI studies that have been undertaken previously, it has been noted that activation of specific centers in the brain varies with different sexes. Reaction time for the different parts of the brain with different task also shows some difference (Speck, Ernst, Braun, Koch, Miller, & Chang, 2000). Gender differences have also been reported for other neuronal tasks such as in the processing of words, and hence it is highly likely that the same will be in the case of long vs. short-term memory (Shaywitz, Shaywitz, Pugh, & Constable, 1995).

In an imaging study by Williams and Meck (1991), they showed that the differences in activation of cortical centers of memory differed in men and women due three reasons. They speculate that strategies and problem-solving capabilities differ in men and women and may bring about these differences. The second reason is that the composition of the underlying brain matter differs between men and women. Thirdly, there are different mechanisms in which blood in the brain is oxygenated, and this brings about change in functionality in the working memory of men and women (Williams & Meck, 1991).

In this study, we specifically focus on long-term vs. short-term memory and how gender influences the functioning of these. Imaging techniques are very crucial to prove such points and will be superior, but that will not be the case in this study.

In this study, the participants will be subjected to different exercises to determine their working memory. They will be given names and faces to memorize. The names and faces will be randomly be assigned to both the males and females randomly. This will be the independent variable. In the same study, the participants will be subjected to interviews and some photographs and questionnaires. These will be based on the individual’s gender and memory skills. This will form the dependent variable of the study. The hypothesis, in this case, is that females memorize faces better while males memorize names.


Materials used in this study:

Photographs of familiar faces, photographs of unfamiliar faces, questionnaires, and interviews.

Subjects: The subjects will be 30 men and women between the age of 20 years and 30 years. There are 15 men and 15 women. The sample is taken from the college community. The sample was randomly picked. All participants were in relatively good health condition. Their backgrounds regarding health, income or family setting were not taken into consideration. A general medical exam was undertaken for each participant. Each participant will have a mini-mental examination taken to determine their global cognitive status. This proposal will be submitted to the IRB (Institutional Review Board) prior to data collection.


Each participant will be taken to a room with charts that had 20 names each for the persons on the photographs.10 photographs are of famous individuals and 10 of random people. Each participant will be asked to memorize the names on the list for 15 minutes. For the photographs, the participant will be asked to view the pictures on the chart for another 15 minutes. After this process, the participant will be taken to another room with a questionnaire to fill. The questionnaire will have specific questions regarding the participant's childhood, and others regarding specific tasks accomplished that day. In this part of the process, the participants will be given 15 minutes to fill the questionnaire and the time is taken to fill it is recorded. The participants will then let to go to a specific place for a tea break for another half an hour.

After the thirty minutes, the participants will be led to a different room with an interviewer. During this process, the participants will not be allowed to use their electronic gadgets at any one point or communicate with outsiders. The lack of contact with people outside the study was to minimize the external influence on both the working and short-term memory of the participants.

Before taking part in this study, each participant will be informed of what the procedure was all about and its significance. They will also be informed that within the period of the research, which will be about 3 hours, from the beginning to the end, they will not have any contacts with anyone outside. Upon agreement to participate in the study, the participants will be required to sign a consent form.

During the interview, each participant will be interviewed singly in the first room in which the charts with names and photographs were hanged previously. This time the room will be empty with only a desk for the interviewer and the participant. The interviewer will introduce themselves and will be expected to create a rapport with the participant. The participant will then be asked to list the names they could remember from the initial list. The results will be recorded by the interviewer. After this, the participant will be released until the second part of the study which would be conducted a week later.

A week later, the participants will take part in a continuation of the study. This part of the study only consists of an interview with the same interviewer in the first portion of the study. The participants will be asked to mention the names of the individuals on the photographs presented to them during the first part of the study. After that, the photographs without the names of the individuals will be introduced to the participants. They will be expected to say whether they remember ever seeing such a face and what their name is. The interviewer will also ask the participant if they remember their name. The participant will then be through with the study.






Remembered faces (after 2nd interview



Remembered names (after 1st; after 2nd interviews.

14; 12

12; 8

Remembered name of interviewer


12; 10

Both descriptive and inferential statistical analysis will be utilized on the data collected. A one-way ANOVA will be used to address the hypothesis. More males remembered names rather than the females while females remembered faces better. For the questionnaire, the average amount of time taken by the males to answer was approximately 7 minutes while for the females was approximately 6 minutes. There was no major difference in the timing.


From the results, there is a slight difference observed in the pattern of memory for the short-term memory. For the long-term memory, there is a significant difference on the pattern of memory in the genders where females tend to remember faces better while males remember names. This is consistent with previously studied neuroscience cases. Females have a higher advantage when it comes to episodic memory that is a part of long-term memory (Eals & Silverman, 1994). However, the semantic and primary memory does not show much of a difference regarding performance based on gender (Herlitz, Nilsson, & Bäckman, 1997). However, some research studies also contradict these findings. Maccoby and Jacklin (1978) in their study concluded that there are no major differences between memories based on gender differences.

In addition, this study is not all conclusive since there are other factors that influence these memory patterns other than gender that were not considered. During the one week interval before the second interview, many factors such as trauma and other external influence such as a participant falling ill or living in a stressful environment may interfere with the results, hence, giving skewed results.


Eals, M., & Silverman, I. (1994). The hunter-gatherer theory of spatial sex differences: Proximate factors mediating the female advantage in recall of object arrays. Ethology and Sociobiology, 15(2), 95-105.

Herlitz, A., Nilsson, L.G., & Bäckman, L. (1997). Gender differences in episodic memory. Memory & Cognition, 25(6), 801-811.

Maccoby, E.E., & Jacklin, C.N. (1978). The psychology of sex differences (Vol. 2). Stanford University Press.

Shaywitz, B.A., Shaywitz, S.E., Pugh, K.R., & Constable, R.T. (1995). Sex differences in the functional organization of the brain for language. Nature, 373(6515), 607.

Speck, O., Ernst, T., Braun, J., Koch, C., Miller, E., & Chang, L. (2000). Gender differences in the functional organization of the brain for working memory. Neuroreport, 11(11), 2581-2585.

Williams, C.L., & Meck, W.H. (1991). The organizational effects of gonadal steroids on sexually dimorphic spatial ability. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 16(1), 155-176.


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